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Tom brings the art of the tobacconist to light with his Owner's Choice. Special techniques at the blending bar provide you with a new experience in smoking straight red Virginia.

Blend TypeStraight Virginia
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6 reviews
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Pipestud Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pipestud (1829)
Medium Extremely Mild Medium Very Pleasant

Owner's Choice is similar to My Reserve, but is a bit stronger in flavor to me. It is a straight virginia with some bite to it, but again, if you smoke slowly (which I have a hard time doing) you will be rewarded more fully because there will be no bite.

This blend is not as sweet nor as elegant as the famous McCranie's Red Ribbon, but it is less expensive and may work more easily into your budget. Give 'er a go virginia lovers, you can thank me later!

2 people found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30057)
Mild None Detected Medium Pleasant

I am currently not in the area of McCranie's pipe store, but I still get my tobacco from there frequently. I have been a customer since before they were carrying bulk tobaccos from McClelland. I can tell you that this IS 5100 dried out for certain, I've watched them do it on a number of occasions. I used to live down there at one point. The 5100 Red Cake is put up as "First Light" and I actually like that a little better, to me, this is too dry and it changes the flavor, my personal opinion is that it loses something this way, burns hotter (they even warn you that it does if you are used to First Light) and you have to puff it more carefully.

They actually blend with this instead of 5100 and I think that works out. I am giving this a "somewhat recommend" because if you are a smoker of Virginia's this is worth a try so you can decide for yourself. I have smoked this a lot and tried to like it and I don't and will probably stick to plain 5100 in the future which is my most of the time, most of the day smoke.

Update ~ I have now taken to drying out 5100 to the same level of dryness as Owner's Choice. My note to the other reviewers, Owner's Choice IS McClelland's 5110. Trust me. I watched them dry it out. If you ever hung out down there as I did years ago, became personal friends of the proprietors, you would know. It does change the character of the tobacco, it stays lit a little better, has a fuller flavor, maybe needs to be puffed a little slower because it burns better, but it is the same tobacco. Honest.

1 person found this review helpful.

Emeritus Account Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Emeritus Account (30057)
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant to Tolerable

I was reluctant to sample Owner's Choice at McCrannie's due to its very low moisture content. I suspected it would burn rapidly and bite. Putting my reluctance aside, I was treated to a magnificent smoke.

I was told that the tobacco was set out to dry in sunlight. How they manage to do this and maintain the natural resins in the tobacco is beyond me.

I found not the slightest bite in both small and large pipes.

A most flavorful tobacco worthy of your attention.

1 person found this review helpful.

Denevei Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Denevei (58)
Mild to Medium None Detected Medium Tolerable

For a number of years I lived just a few miles from McCranie's Park Road store, and so frequented the place. Early on I was looking for a good Virginia smoke but without the price of a tin of Red Ribbon and Todd suggested Owner's Choice to me. Over the years I've come to wonder if it's not just McClelland's 5100 dried and repackaged, but am not quite ready to just say it is because there are differences in nuance. Regardless, it is a nice Red Virginia blend! The tobacco is a fairly consistent ribbon cut of mostly dark, reddish brown with occasional flecks of tan mixed in. When I smell the tobacco all I can think of to describe the aroma is that it smells like the McCranie's shop, which is one of my favorite scents in the world. Packing Owner's Choice is quite easy. It actually packs loosely naturally from the dryness and stiffness of the ribbon, so you can really press it into a bowl and get a nice, easy draw. From the first light the flavor is that of Red Virginia, which, for whatever reason, always makes me think of waffles cooking. Odd comparison, but real for me. OC isn't overly nuanced, and the character doesn't really change or develop through the bowl, but those of us who are fans of Red Virginias will be quite satisfied. The room note is tolerable to non-smokers, but does smell like rich, ripe tobacco. If you like Red Ribbon, or other Reds, then Owner's Choice is an excellent, relatively economical choice. I honestly can't say if it is better, similar, or even exactly the same as 5100 but is, at worst, an excellent substitute. Owner's Choice isn't a single crop Red, as is Red Ribbon, but the mix is of nothing but really good tobacco. This is as good as any bulk Red Virginia on the market.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Clarkus Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Clarkus (36)
Medium Mild Medium Pleasant

I bought a small pouch of this when I was sampling some tobaccos at McCranies about a year ago. I liked it when I tried a bowlful in the shop but couldn't get into it after that. I was a die-hard burley and English smoker at the time never having really ventured into Virginias.

Over the past few months I've gotten into VA's at the expense of burleys and happened upon this sitting in my humidor. I thought I would give it another go and am very happy I did. I was at McCranies today to pick up some Southport intending to pick up some Owners Choice but started talking and forgot about the OC. I think I'll go back for it tomorrow and pick up my weekly ration of Golden Slices.

Virginia smokers really should try this one.

Nobody has rated this review yet.

Pounder 5000 Reviewed By DateRating StrengthFlavoringTasteRoom Note
Pounder 5000 (178)
Mild to Medium None Detected Mild Tolerable to Strong

I have to agree with pipestud. Except that I thought it was more like First Light. It seems to me that they just took a bunch of McClelland #5100 and let it dry out for a good while, which accounts for the stronger taste. It is a bit bitier than the others however so that seems to be contradictory. Whatever it is, it burns well and is very good for the price. Because of how dried out it comes it doesn't need any preperation- just load and light! A good every day smoke on a budget.

p.s. I didn't think the DGT was particularly good.

Nobody has rated this review yet.